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RESIDENTS who live along a proposed inland freight train line have been given a glimmer of hope that any adverse environmental impacts will be assessed.
Concerned residents were told the developers of the rail, the Australian Rail Track Corporation, intended to ask the state government’s Co-ordinator General to oversee the track and declare it a co-ordinated project.
A spokesman for the ARTC told this month’s inaugural Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton Community Consultative Committee meeting, the developer intended to submit an Initial Advice Statement to the Office of the Co-ordinator General.
The ARTC announcement followed a year of heated speculation from residents angry that a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement would not be done.
Forestdale resident and one the community members on the committee Suz Corbett said if the Co-ordinator General accepted the submission, he could instruct ARTC to carry out an Environmental Impact Statement or a lesser impact Environmental Impact Assessment.
“Unfortunately, an EIA is a much lesser impact assessment and with a full EIS, the people will have an input through a Terms of Reference public input,” Mrs Corbett said.
“At the meeting, the question was raised about how an EIS could be considered independent when the same company, the ARTC, will be responsible for conducting it.”
Former Scenic Rim mayor John Brent chaired the meeting, in front of a crowd of about 50.
It endorsed the committee charter, provided a project update and discussed upcoming community engagement activities including opening Inland Rail information booths in December.
“Inland Rail has been talked about for a long time and now that it is really happening I am determined to use the skills I learned in local government dealing with roads and other infrastructure to ensure community concerns are addressed as well as they can be,” he said.
parts of the train line corridor run through Logan suburbs.Other topics raised included the number of trains planned to use the track on a daily basis following conflicting reports in ARTC literature.
ARTC said there would be 45 double-stacked trains a day going to Acacia Ridge with 12 of those coal trains continuing to the port via the Cleveland line.
The ARTC said that could continue along that route until 2040.
“The uncovered coal trains will be coming from West Moreton and there were concerns that coal trains were going to be diverted from the existing Ipswich line on to a line that has never had coal trains before,” Mrs Corbett said.
“There were also concerns that those trains would be passing through high-density suburbs and past schools creating health concerns with the coal dust.”
A brief discussion was also held on the future of passenger trains travelling on the same corridor as double-stacked freight trains and coal trains.
There was conjecture that TMR and ARTC were in discussions and TMR would release the details of the preserved corridor next year.
ARTC said it was not in negotiations with TMR and had no involvement with any passenger rail concerns.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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